1) General Information:
- Location on Property:
Jungle Cottage, Garden E
Scientific Name: Rubus parviflorus, commonly called thimbleberry, salmonberry,and snow bramble
- Region of Origin: North America
- Type: Beautiful & Useful
- General History: Rubus parviflorus is found from Alaska south as far as California, New Mexico, Chihuahua, and San Luis Potosí. It grows from sea level in the north, up to elevations of 2,500 m (8,200 ft) in its southern range.
- Rubus parviflorus typically grows along roadsides, railroad tracks, and in forest clearings. It commonly appeared as an early part of the ecological succession in clear-cut and forest fire areas. Thimbleberry is found in forest understories with typical flora associates including coastal woodfern. The plant produces edible composite fruit approximately a centimeter (0.4 inches) in diameter, which ripen to a bright red in mid to late summer. Like other raspberries, it is not a true berry, but instead, an aggregate fruit of numerous drupelets around a central core. You can carefully remove the drupelet separately from the core when picked, leaving a hollow fruit which bears a resemblance to a thimble, perhaps giving the plant its name.
2) Plant Uses:
- As Food: Thimbleberry fruits are larger, flatter, and softer than raspberries, and have many small seeds. Because the fruit is so soft, it does not pack or ship well, so thimbleberries are rarely cultivated commercially. However, wild thimbleberries can be made into a jam. It is sold as a local delicacy in some parts of their range, notably in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Upper Michigan. You can make thimbleberry jam by combining berries and sugar and boiling the mixture for two minutes before packing into jars. You can eat the fruits raw or dried.
- As Medicine: Many parts of the Rubus parviflorus plant were used for a great variety of medicinal purposes by Native Americans. The Concow tribe calls the plant wä-sā’(Konkow language)
- Other Uses: Cultivars select the plant ornamental qualities, such as for their fragrant flowers and/or attractive fall foliage color
3) Growing Instructions:
Growing: It grows from sea level in the north, up to elevations of 2,500 meters in its southern range. The flowers are 2 to 6 centimeters in diameter, with five white petals and numerous pale yellow stamens. The flower of this species is among the largest of any Rubus species. It makes its Latin species name parviflorus (“small-flowered”) a misnomer.
- Best time to Harvest: When berries are red
- Sunlight Requirements: Full sun or partial shade
- Soil Requirements: Moderately fertile and fast draining
- Propagation: Thimbleberry plants can be propagated most successfully by planting dormant rhizome segments, as well as from seeds or stem cuttings. The flowers support pollinators, including of special value to Native bees, honeybees, and bumblebees. The fruit is attractive to birds. The yellow-banded sphinx butterfly uses the plants as a larval host and a nectar source.
- Controlling Spread: Trim back with clippers
- Difficulties with this plant: /
History of this Plant at Hedonisia: /